Choosing the best of the worst. Almost sounds like going to the polls sometimes. However, when it comes to choosing the best of the worst, God wasn’t voting; He was simply trying to maintain contact with the human race. Sometimes, I’m not even sure how He accomplished that. As I continue to read through the Old Testament, I’m awestruck at the large numbers of people who just don’t get it.
Here again, we have a prime example: "When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Akshaph, and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Kinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Hermon in the region of Mizpah. They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel." (vs 1-5)
I couldn’t believe this. These guys had heard about Jericho, Ai, and how the Israelites had walloped all the southern kings in Canaan. Wouldn’t that at least make you stop and think? On the contrary, it only seemed to rev these northern kings up for war. (It’s almost like the effect the plagues had on Pharaoh.) I mean, after all these decisive victories, you would have to at least consider the possibility that waging war against the Israelites and their God wasn’t a great idea, wouldn’t you?
Alas, the kings in Canaan were no friend of reason. They wouldn’t or couldn’t learn, and it meant the end for them. However, lest we think the Israelites were some sort of winners in all of this, they also wouldn’t or couldn’t learn. For, in the long run, we know that they abandoned God as a nation and went a’whoring after gods that didn’t exist—such as Baal and Molech. When it comes to stubbornness and teachability, it seems the Israelites weren’t much better than the Canaanites after all. They were, in a way, simply the best of the worst.
What else did God have to work with? If Israel was the best He could do, it’s a wonder He didn’t just give up. In fact, it’s probably nothing short of a miracle that He retained some level of communication with the human race at all. Yet it makes me admire Him all the more that He didn’t give up, that He didn’t just wipe us out and start over, but that He actually did what He could with the best of the worst. He deals in reality—even when that reality is pretty awful and ugly.